Long ago in the city of Rajpur, lived a
man named Kulaputra. He had a close friend Jaindas who followed Jain
religion. One day Kulaputra went with his friend to listen to the sermon of
his spiritual teacher. He was impressed by the principle of Ahimsa
(non-violence) illustrated by the monk and he decided to take a vow not to
eat fish no matter what.
Soon there was a severe drought in the
city. Grain became scarce, so most people of the town lived on fish as a
food. Before long, even the strictest vegetarians changed their diet. Fish
became the main source of food. This situation challenged Kulaputra's
commitment of his vow. Many days passed by when there was hardly any food in
the house, but he did not break his vow. One day his wife got frustrated and
said, "Can't you see that our children are starving? Don't you feel for
them? Please buy some fish, so I can feed them."
Kulaputra told her, "My dear, I can not
take away other living being's life to save ours. We are vegetarians. I love
our children, but in same manner I love all living beings too."
At last, Kulaputra's brother-in-law took
him to the riverbank to catch fish for the family. Kulaputra was very
unhappy and with deep regret threw his net into water. To his surprise, he
caught the most fish. But as he was pulling them out of water he saw that
the fish were uneasy and restless. He could not bear their suffering, so he
released them. He tried three times and did the same each time. He could not
tolerate anymore. So he left and went on a fast until death. After his
death, he was born as merchant Manihar's son, in the city of Rajagruhi, and
was named Damanak.
Manihar was a rich man with great wealth
and fortune. When Damanak was eight years old, an epidemic broke out in the
city, and his whole family died except for Damanak. There was no one left to
look after Damanak. Within a short period of time, his wealth vanished, and
he became a poor orphan boy. One day, a merchant named Sagarpot gave him
shelter in his house.
One day after some time, a monk came to
Sagarpot's house for alms. The monk noticed Damanak, and said that his good
karmas were going to mature shortly, and he soon would be the head of the
Sagarpot did not say anything since he
disliked the idea of his fortune to be inherited by the poor boy, Damanak.
He wanted his real son to be the next head of the household. Therefore, he
decided to kill Damanak. One day he sent for the butcher, and ordered him to
take Damanak into the forest and kill him. The butcher took the boy to the
forest, and as he was about to kill him, the look of innocence on the face
of the boy made him change his mind. He did not kill Damanak, but to show
the Sagarpot that he had killed him, he cut Damanak's little finger off and
turned him loose in the forest. He told the boy to leave, and never return
to that area again.
Damanak started wandering in the forest,
and soon he saw a cow herder. He told his story to the cow herder. The cow
herder felt sympathy towards him and invited Damanak to live with him. This
started a new chapter in Damanak's life.
Several years passed and Damanak became a
young man. One day, when traveling on business, Sagarpot stopped at the
place where Damanak was living. He saw the young man and liked him right
away. When Sagarpot inquired more about him, he realized that this young man
was the same boy whom he had wanted to kill. His anger grew again, and he
immediately planed to kill Damanak. He asked the cow herder if he could
spare the young man to take his message back to his home. Sagarpot gave
Damanak a letter to be delivered to his son. Damanak left to carry out his
As Damanak reached the outskirts of the
Rajagruhi city, he became tired. He saw a temple, and decided to rest. He
left the letter by his side and fell sleep. It just so happened, that after
he fell sleep, Bisa, Sagarpot's daughter came to the temple. She noticed the
letter next to Damanak. She became curious, and looked at it. To her
surprise it was addressed to his brother. Her curiosity grew even more, so
she read the letter. She was puzzled to find that his father had written,
"Yah ladaka jaise hi vahan aye, usko bis de dena" meaning, "As soon as this
boy arrives there, give him poison (Bis)." She could not understand this.
She looked at the young man, he was very handsome and looked innocent. She
fell in love with him and wanted to marry him. So, she changed the message,
"Yah ladaka jaise hi vahan aye, usko bisa de dena," meaning, "As soon as
this boy arrives there, give him Bisa (his daughter)." She then put the
letter back where it was and left.
The young man delivered the letter to
Sagarpot's son. His son read the message and was puzzled why his father
would ask him to get his sister married to Damanak. But since that was his
father's wish, he obeyed it. Damanak was also confused, but he liked Bisa,
so he went along. Bisa's brother arranged her marriage with great
When Sagarpot came back home and found out
what happened, he was fuming in his mind. But he did not express this anger
to anybody. He once again started a plot to kill Damanak, now his
Sagarpot hired someone to kill him. One
day, everybody went to a party. After some time, Damanak felt tired, so he
decided to go home early. When he reached home, he found the house locked.
So he rested on the sofa on the porch. The hit man followed him, but he felt
that Damanak was a strong man and it would not be easy to kill him without
anything. So he went home to get a sword.
Meanwhile, Damanak got up and went for a
walk. While Damanak was on his walk, his brother-in-law (Sagarpot's son)
came to the house. He also found the house locked and he decided to rest on
the sofa on the porch. He soon fell sleep. The hit man came back, and
without thinking anything, hit his sword on the man's neck and cut off his
After some time when the rest of the
family came home, they found the body in blood. They were shocked to learn
that it was Bisa's brother who had been killed.
Sagarpot now realized that he was trying
to change the destiny of the young man (fate of karmas), and that is why he
did not succeed in killing Damanak. He soon mellowed down and decided to
accept Damanak's fate. His wife and he decided to pass over all the home and
business affairs to Damanak.
Damanak carried out his duty for many
years and lived happily ever after.